This fall, there will be an amazing battle of the bands in “Archie Meets The Ramones”, where writers Alex Segura & Matthew Rosenberg and artist Gisele Lagace will have The Archies (consisting of Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica) travel through time to the 1970s to meet the legendary punk band, The Ramones. This might seem like an outlandish idea for a crossover, but it’s very much in keeping with the history of Archie Comics.
As a brand, Archie Comics are impressively adaptable. Over the years, Archie and the gang have been spies, superheroes, time travelers, and even (oddly enough) Explorers of the Unknown (in a short-lived 1990 series where the Archie characters were parodies of DC Comics’ “Challengers of the Unknown.” Yes, a 1990 comic book series parodying “Challengers of the Unknown” — we said “oddly enough,” after all). This makes the characters particularly well-designed to cross over with famous characters and celebrities, and Archie Comics has done a number of them over the years. Here are ten of the oddest ones, presented in chronological order.
10. 10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
For a number of years, Archie Comics handled the “kid” version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for the young viewers of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” animated series who wanted to buy a comic book that was like the TV show. After a few years at Archie, we suppose it just made sense for them to have the Turtles and the Archie gang actually crossover, so 1991’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Meet Archie” did just that. In a story by Ryan Brown and Dean Clarrain, with Ken Mitchroney, Marlene Becker and Ryan Brown handling the artwork for the Turtles characters and Stan Goldberg and Rudy Lapick handling the artwork for the Archie characters, the Turtles found themselves deposited on an alternate Earth by Cudley the Cowlick (one of the odder characters ever to grace the pages of a comic book). They interrupted Archie and Betty making out and the two teens tried to warn everyone of what they presumed was an alien invasion. Later, at a Josie and the Pussycats concert, Veronica was kidnapped by some goons. The Turtles offered to help and they teamed up with Archie to save Veronica from the kidnappers. The Turtles then went back to their own universe.
9. 9. The Punisher
Back when intercompany crossovers were still a bit of a rarity, Marvel Comics and Archie Comics took the world by surprise by their team-up of the lighthearted Archie with the killer vigilante, the Punisher. However, due to the work of writer (and layout artist) Batton Lash, the whole thing not only worked, but it worked well. The conceit behind “Archie Meets the Punisher” (Archie and Marvel each released their own version of the same comic, just with different covers — Marvel’s was titled “The Punisher Meets Archie” instead) is that a criminal left New York City to hide out in Riverdale. The Punisher was hot on his trail. The big problem was that the criminal looked just like Archie Andrews! So when the Punisher reached Riverdale, hilarity ensued (and by “hilarity,” we, of course, mean “Archie almost gets killed by the Punisher”). The criminal, however, then kidnapped Veronica, forcing the Punisher to team up with Archie and the gang to rescue the teen heiress. Stan Goldberg once again provided the artwork for the Archie characters while John Buscema drew the Punisher (and Tom Palmer inked the whole thing). Sadly, the Jughead/Wolverine crossover teased at the end of the story never came to pass.
8. 8. Gen 13
For the thirteenth issue of the “Gen13” ongoing series (due to various delays, it took two years for thirteen issues of “Gen13” to be released), Wildstorm celebrated by having three 14-page comics released for the issue, labeled #13A, #13B and #13C. Each comic cost $1.30. The plot of the story (written by Brandon Choi and J. Scott Campbell and drawn by Campbell and Alex Garner) was that Grunge transported the team to essentially a magical world of comics after trading his soul for a Chromium edition of a comic book. Wildstorm got permission to have a bunch of famous comic book characters appear, including Hellboy, Bone and Wolverine. Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica also appeared, and J. Scott Campbell had a great bit where he drew them in the traditional Archie style as well as in his own particular style. It was a fun crossover event, and it actually had a good message about the dangers of comic book speculation.
7. 7. Tiny Titans
One of the examples of the great flexibility of the Archie characters is the success that Archie Comics has enjoyed over the years with kid versions of Archie characters, with the most famous series being “Little Archie” by the great Bob Bolling, which he wrote and drew for nearly a decade between 1957-1965. Meanwhile, for a number of years Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani wrote and drew the acclaimed “Teen Titans as a little kids” comic book series “Tiny Titans.” So it made a lot of sense for the “Little Archie” characters to team-up with the “Tiny Titans” characters, which is precisely what happened in the 2010 three-issue miniseries “Tiny Titans/Little Archie and His Pals,” written and drawn by Baltazar and Aureliani. The whole series is charming and delightful, but the best part of it all had to be when we met the husband of the longtime teacher of Archie and his gang, Mrs. Grundy. Her husband’s name? You guessed it — Solomon!
6. 6. Barack Obama and Sarah Palin
In late 2010, Archie put out a two-part storyline in “Archie” #616 and #617 called “Campaign Pains.” Written by Alex Simmons and drawn by Dan Parent and Rich Koslowski, the story was about Archie and Reggie running against each other for Class President. Reggie was leading Archie in the polls by a goodly margin, so Veronica came up with a plan to push Archie ahead in the race. She worked out a way to have Archie appear in a photo with United States President Barack Obama. Archie’s popularity skyrocketed. So Reggie responded by getting a photo with former Alaska Governor and former Republican nominee for Vice President, Sarah Palin. The high school campaign involving the two notable political figures got the attention of the rest of the country, including Obama and Palin, who each head to Riverdale to get things straightened out. Hilarity, naturally enough, ensues when they arrive.
5. 5. KISS
During the 1970s, KISS made headlines with their Marvel comic book special, a special that included some of their own blood mixed in with the ink used for the comic book (or at least that was their intent, whether their blood made its way into that particular book is still a matter debated to this day). So they were natural characters to choose to guest-star in an Archie crossover event. Running from “Archie” #627-630 (by writer Alex Segura, who is handling the “Archie Meets The Ramones” one-shot this year and artists Dan Parent and Rich Koslowski), this story originated with a spell by Sabrina the Teenage Witch going horribly wrong. Intended as a protection spell for Riverdale, Sabrina accidentally cast a spell that drew monsters to Riverdale. Besieged by zombies and other monsters, the Archie gang was luckily visited by Kiss (specifically their supernatural identities, The Demon, Starchild, Catman and Spaceman), who helped them save the town from the monsters.
4. 4. George Takei
Kevin Keller made history as the first openly gay Archie character. His creator, Dan Parent, later wrote and drew an ongoing series starring Kevin. In 2012, the sixth issue of “Kevin Keller” had a very special guest-star. Each of the gang at Riverdale High had to write an essay about a famous person that inspired them. Archie chose Muhammad Ali, Betty chose Amelia Earhart, Jughead chose Colonel Sanders and Veronica chose Kim Kardashian. Kevin chose former “Star Trek” actor and famed gay activist, George Takei, for his essay. The essay also served as an easy way for Parent to get across the facts of Takei’s life. After news of the essay spread, Takei and his husband Brad came to Riverdale to meet Kevin. Takei remarked at the time about his portrayal in the comic, “I’m looking very handsome for a person of my age with a lot more hair than I really have and a lot less waistline than I really have.”
3. 3. Glee
Many years ago, playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa got into some legal trouble from Archie Comics over a play he wrote that used characters from the world of Archie. That just makes it sweeter to know that he eventually became very invested in Archie Comics, to the point where he is currently Archie’s Chief Creative Officer. That would come later, though. His first work at Archie involved his work as a television writer. Aguirre-Sacasa was a staff writer on the hit TV series, “Glee,” about a high school glee club in Lima, Ohio. Aguirre-Sacasa had already written many comics for Marvel Comics by this point so he was the perfect choice to write the four-part storyline that ran from “Archie” #641-644 (with art by Dan Parent and Rich Koslowski) that saw Dilton Doiley invent a machine that breached from the Archie universe to the “Glee” universe. An accident led to half the “Glee” kids getting stuck in the Archie universe and half the Archie kids getting stuck in the “Glee” universe. Despite being specifically told by Dilton not to change anything, for fear of the universes breaking down, the hormonal teens could not help but fall for each other. In the end, the only thing that saved the universes was the power of everyone singing together.
2. 2. Predator
By 2015, Archie had already begun doing some more adult-oriented comics, specifically their horror comic (written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa) “Afterlife With Archie,” so when they did their next series of comic crossovers, they were a lot more willing to be edgier than in years past. That was the case in the four-issue “Archie vs. Predator,” by writer Alex de Campi and artists Fernando Ruiz and Rich Koslowski, where a Predator landed on Earth in Costa Rica, right when Archie and the gang were visiting there on Spring Break. Betty got the alien’s attention and it followed the gang home to Riverdale, where it began specifically targeting Veronica. The teens had to decide whether to abandon their friend or not, and Archie, Judghead, Dilton and Betty decided to stay with Veronica to defend her against the alien hunter. In the end, all of the teens but Betty and Veronica are killed and Betty discovered that the alien was driven by a crush it had on Betty. This then leads Betty to use an experimental machine to make a hilariously bizarre decision on what to do with the Predator.
1. 1. Sharknado
The /article/archie-vs-sharknado-rips-into-riverdale series of TV movies have become a bit of a cult phenomenon. When the third movie was coming out last year, the director of the franchise, Anthony C. Ferrante, wrote a sort of tie-in one-shot that had the deadly sharknado go up against Archie and the gang in “Archie vs. Sharknado” #1 (with art by Dan Parent and Rich Koslowski). The plot in the comic was in line with the plot of “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” Archie and his friends were on vacation when the deadly tornadoes that send sharks flying through the air attacked. Riverdale was in the path of the sharknado, so Archie and his pals headed back to Riverdale to try to save their family and friends from the sharknado. One of the stars of the “Sharknado” films is Tara Reid, who also played Melody in the “Josie and the Pussycats” film, so Ferrante has some fun with that little bit of casting. In general, though, this was just a fun and extremely violent one-shot (Jughead biting sharks in the sky is worth the price of admission just by itself).
What is your favorite “Archie” comic book crossover?
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